Courage, postimmunity politics, and the regulation of the queer subject

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In this paper, I argue that courage is invoked in contemporary political discourses in such a way as to regulate queer legal subjectivities. That is, the discourses of courage re-articulate the social, legal, and political relations that define and restrict the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) citizens. Drawing on Roberto Esposito's theoretical elaboration of the concept of immunity, I remap the legal and political dynamics through which nations incorporate LGBT citizens into the polity. I discuss how the regulation of gay rights in a growing number of democracies in Europe, the Americas, and South Africa has contributed to a new political discourse within which LGBT citizens are conceived as possessing human rights. Granted unprecedented equality rights by a growing number of national legislatures, LGBT citizens are accommodated and courted within changing practices of capitalism at the international level, while at the same time their newfound status barely troubles the gender, sexual, and class alterities on the domestic front. In doing so, I argue that the logic of immunity helps us to understand the larger and messier manifestations of nationalism in relation to LGBT rights and claims. I conclude by explaining how the discourse of courage is animated by a postimmunitary logic that demarcates a new form of civic subjectivity for LGBT citizens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-529
Number of pages25
JournalIndiana Journal of Global Legal Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016


  • courage
  • gay rights
  • same sex marriage
  • queer culture
  • lgbt
  • queer theory
  • queer studies
  • gay communities
  • gay rights movements
  • immunity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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